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Newsline

News/Business. World events, business news and weather forecasts; broadcast in English. (CC) (Stereo)

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U.s. 10, Tokyo 8, Iraq 6, Hatoyama 5, Afghanistan 4, Nhk 3, Naoto Kan 3, Shanghai 3, Okinawa 3, Ichiro Ozawa 3, Catherine 3, Southeastern China 2, United States 2, Bahamas 2, Minako Misawa 2, Osaka 2, Korean Peninsula 2, Sapporo 2, New York 2, Yugoslavia 2,
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  PBS    Newsline    News/Business. World events, business news and  
   weather forecasts; broadcast in English. (CC) (Stereo)  

    August 31, 2010
    7:00 - 7:30pm PDT  

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hello there. welcome to "newsline." it's wednesday september 1st, 11:00 a.m. in tokyo. i'm catherine kobayashi. the ruling democratic party of japan has announced the start of official campaigning for its presidential election on september 14th. the former secretary-general, ichiro ozawa, and prime minister naoto kan, the current dpj president, are running as candidates. nhk world reporter minako misawa is at the party's headquarters.
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minako? >> reporter: yes. deputies filed candidacy applications for ozawa and kan on wednesday morning. each candidate had endorsements from more than 20 fellow lawmakers. ozawa and kan will hold a joint news conference later in the day. the democratic party's victory last year ended more than 50 years of virtually unbroken rule by the liberal democratic party. but the dpj suffered a major setback in the upper house election in july. the upcoming leadership vote will be the first poll since that election. both candidates are party leaders who have long worked to put the dpj into power. in this presidential election votes will be counted according to a points system. each party lawmaker has two points for a total of 824 points. rank-and-file members and ordinary voters who have registered beforehand as party supporters account for 300 points. 100 points are allocated to
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local assembly members. all combined, this puts 1,224 points into play. the candidates have two weeks to campaign. during this period they'll hold party meetings in tokyo, osaka, and sapporo, to explain their policy priorities. minako misawa, nhk world, from dpj headquarters. >> thanks very much. now, it's been a year since the democratic party took party and ended more than 50 years of an almost unbroken rule by the liberal democratic party. since then the dpj-led government has faced many challenges. here's a look back. >> translator: the time has come to change the course of japan. >> reporter: the democratic party won a landslide victory in last august's lower house election. its leader, yukio hatoyama, became japan's 93rd prime
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minister. he started off his ambitious agenda by launching a task force aimed at identifying wasteful government spending. the process was open to the public and gained strong support from the people. however, things soon went sour when two political funding scandals rocked the hatoyama administration. an investigation revealed that hatoyama's mother had been giving him substantial donations for many years. he denied any knowledge of the funds. but he paid gift taxes on the money anyway. the second political funding scandal involved ichiro ozawa, the democratic party's secretary-general at the time. three of his former aides were prosecuted for falsifying reports on a land purchase made by ozawa's fund management group. though prosecutors decided not to indict ozawa, a prosecution inquest panel is examining the
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case to determine whether he should face mandatory indictm t indictment. an issue involving the relocation of the u.s. marine corps futenma air station in okinawa also had a negative impact on the hatoyama government. the former prime minister vowed to transfer the american base outside okinawa during last year's election campaign. but last may he reversed his position. hatoyama had essentially sided with japan's biggest ally, the united states. the two countries agreed to relocate part of futenma to u.s. camp schwab, also in okinawa. the agreement prompted the social democrats to quit the democratic party's coalition government. by this time the approval rating for hatoyama's cabinet had
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fallen to 21%. some democratic party members became nervous because japan's upper house election was just around the corner. hatoyama stepped down together with ozawa to help the dpj regain the public's trust. with hatoyama gone, naoto kan took over, become's japan's fifth leader in just four years. but he's the first one that doesn't come from a political family. kan tried to distance himself from ozawa to show the public the party had changed. >> translator: ozawa had better keep quiet for a while. it would be good for ozawa himself, the democratic party, and japanese politics. >> reporter: but kan failed his first test as leader. >> well, japan's ruling coalition has suffered a major defeat in the upper house election on sunday. >> reporter: the results of the july 11th vote showed the dpj
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hadn't recovered from the hatoyama-ozawa political funding scandals. and kan's flip-flop over a possible hike in japan's consumption tax just made things worse. the election results created a split diet, which is like a hung parliament. following the party's defeat, ozawa spoke out against kan's leadership. now the ruling dpj is in danger of division. >> we now go over to the world of business, with ines matsuyama. >> thank you very much, catherine. u.s. home prices climbed more than expected in june for the fifth month in a row due to a government tax break for home buyers. the standard & poor's case shiller home price index for june released on tuesday showed prices rose 4.2% across 20 major u.s. cities. economists had been forecasting a 3% gain.
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june's advance follows a 4.6% rise in may. the chairman of the index committee noted that while the numbers were upbeat other more recent data on home sales and mortgages pointed to fewer gains ahead. but he added that even with these concerns the housing market is in better shape than this time last year. the dollar dropped against the yen in new york, falling below 84 yen for the first time since august 24th. the dollar briefly hit 83.83 yen on tuesday. the better than expected u.s. housing and consumer confidence indices prompted dollar buying in the morning. but yen buying intensified later in the day as investors opted to hold the japanese currency, which is considered relatively safe on the last day of the month. and on the tokyo foreign exchange the dollar is hovering in the lower 84 yen range on wednesday morning. the greenback is currently at 84.36 -- 37-38 while the euro is
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at 106.93-97. the dollar remains under selling pressure as investors brace themselves for possible market intervention by the japanese government and central bank. turning to stocks, share prices in tokyo moved in a narrow range on wednesday morning as investors stayed on the sidelines, keeping an eye on the yen's move on the foreign exchange market. the nikkei gained half a percent, or 46 points, and ended the morning session at 8,869. sources say that investors are buying back shares after yesterday's market plunge. a wait and see attitude prevails as players hold out for u.s. employment data to be released later in the week. and here's a look at the latest long-term interest rates. this is a yield on the benchmark ten-year japanese government bond. in other asian markets hong kong's hang seng opened up 0.2% higher, currently up just a fraction. the shanghai index for major blue chips is down 0.2% and in
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shanghai the shenzhen composite is down 0.1%. back to the main news with catherine. >> thanks very much, ines. u.s. president barack obama has declared an end to u.s. combat missions in iraq. in a televised speech from the oval office on tuesday. the operations had been ongoing for more than seven years. >> tonight i am announcing that the american combat mission in iraq has ended. "operation iraqi freedom" is over and the iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country. this was my pledge to the american people as a candidate for this office. last february i announced a plan that would bring our combat brigades out of iraq while redoubling our efforts to strengthen iraq's security forces and support its government and people. that's what we've done. we've removed nearly 100,000 u.s. troops from iraq. we've closed or transferred to
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the iraqis hundreds of bases. and we have moved millions of pieces of equipment out of iraq. our combat mission is ending. but our commitment to iraq's future is not. going forward, a transitional force of u.s. troops will remain in iraq with a different mission, advising and assisting iraq's security forces, supporting iraqi troops in targeted counterterrorism missions, and protecting our civilians. >> while the iraq mission may be over, obama added that the u.s. will go on the offensive in afghanistan and prevent it from becoming a terrorist base. he also vowed to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al qaeda there. more than 12,000 remain unaccounted for after the wars in the former yugoslavia in the 1990s. that's according to the international committee of the red cross. the group released the data on monday to mark the international day of the disappeared.
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as of july, 10,400 of the missing are from the bosnia herzegovina war and 2,400 are from the conflict in croatia. most of the victims were killed during the break-up of the former yugoslavia. in august the remains of 54 people were exhumed from a garbage dump in zrsrebrenica in eastern bosnia herzegovina. 8,000 muslim men were killed there in 1995. international groups and countries are helping groups search for their loved ones. but it's difficult since dna analysis can't be conducted in most cases. two tropical cyclones are approaching the asian continent. here's saki ochi from the weather desk with details. sa saki? >> that's right. we are looking at two tropical cyclones still, although we did have three yesterday. since then one at least has weakened into a tropical
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depression, but nonetheless two still very strong storm systems to contend with again today. first a look at typhoon kompasu, a strong typhoon that did cross over the okinawan islands last night it's now working over the yellow sea and will likely cross into the korean peninsula in a couple of days. it is working at a fairly good clip. also strong winds packing winds of well over 140 kilometers per hour. so this is a very strong storm system that we need to stay on the watch for. now, southeastern china as well will need to brace for tropical storm lionrock. this one now moving toward the north at 15 kilometers per hour. it's picked up speed a little bit more and will likely make landfall here within just another day or so. now, both systems of course have been producing quite a bit of rain already, but expect that rain to continue and intensify in areas where these storms are headed, especially for the korean peninsula. we're seeing very heavy amounts of rain expected to start later on today. keep a close eye on local watches and we will be keeping a
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close eye on developments as well. >> thanks very much, saki. well, prime minister kan says his government will study effective methods to support the reconstruction of afghanistan. last year the japanese government promised up to $5 billion in aid for afghanistan over a five-year period. it has set up a task force to discuss ways to help the war-ravaged country. at its first meeting on tuesday, prime minister kan said the government should offer effective assistance and the task force will play a central role in devising relief programs. the president of the japan international cooperation agency, sadako ogata, and representatives of non-governmental organizations reported on irrigation facilities in afghanistan and the political situation in pakistan. the government will draw up measures that include training for police officers and helping former taliban fighters to find jobs. japan's defense ministry says it will request about $51 billion for its budget next
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year, down 9.3% from this year. the budget requested decided on tuesday will be for the next fiscal year starting on april 1st, 2011. the reduction is in line with a government policy of across-the-board cuts for all budget requests from its ministries and agencies. the request includes money for research on ways to deploy self-defense forces to the sakishima islands in southern japan to reinforce defense in china. separately from its general budget request the ministry has asked for items in a special quota that will be ultimately decided by the prime minister. these items include about $2 billion towards assisting u.s. forces in japan. about $5.5 billion for ballistic defense, fuels for ships and aircraft, and for maintenance of chartered government jets. the japanese government has
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begun work on its draft budget for fiscal 2011. the main challenge will be to curb ballooning expenditure while at the same time securing funding in the tight fiscal conditions. total spending under general accounts for next year will likely top a record $1.1 trillion. the ministries have asked for a larger than forecast $36 billion in the special reserve to fund the administration's growth-related policies. another large chunk will be needed to service the debts on government bonds. on the revenue side tax income will likely remain relatively flat due to sluggish economy. the government is also planning to cap new bond issuance at this year's level at slightly over $520 billion. to cut wasteful spending and obtain more funding, the government will start screening projects under special accounts in october. japan airlines now under bankruptcy protection aims to restructure itself within three
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years. whether it can achieve this goal depends largely on a huge cut in its workforce. on tuesday the embattled air carrier submitted a basic rehabilitation plan to a tokyo court. it includes the abolition of 49 unprofitable domestic and international routes and thousands of job cuts. j.a.l. plans to cut its workforce by 16,000 by next march, the end of the current fiscal year. this accounts for nearly 1/3 of the group's employees. promoting further job cuts will be tough for the company, which has already reduced its staff by selling some of its subsidiaries and encouraging employees to take on early retirement. the company will be challenged to make well-balanced across-the-board job cuts to ensure safety of job operations. j.a.l. plans to return its balance sheet to the black in the current fiscal year and fully restructure itself within three years. minutes of a u.s. federal reserve committee meeting show that some members are in favor of considering additional
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stimulus measures if the economic outlook continues to weaken. the federal open market committee met on august 10th. it decided to sharply downgrade its economic assessment and maintain the amount of funds it supplies to financial markets through the purchase of government debt. some proposals included buying not only government bonds but also mortgage-backed securities. the meeting also indicated a shift away from a so-called exit strategy. the minutes released by the fed on tuesday say that a majority of the committee members expect the economy to recover more slowly than forecast in the latter half of this year. the committee plans to hold its next meeting on september 21st. new businesses are currently being created with a focus on paper as the raw material. as paper technologies advance, companies are coming up with surprising new applications making for both lower costs and environmental friendliness.
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>> reporter: a kindar garten located in tochiki prefecture north of tokyo recently began using very unusual playground equipment. it's made entirely out of corrugated cardboard. the material is light but strong enough to support the weight of an adult. it's also just as easy to put together as it is to take apart and store. >> translator: i don't have to worry about the children getting hurt. the kids love it because it's made from cardboard and doesn't feel cold in the winter. >> reporter: a local furniture manufacturer makes the playground equipment. the company, which was established 45 years ago, originally made wood erin furniture. but recently intense competition from low-price foreign rivals forced it to come up with something new.
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so to boost sales the company set its sights on corrugated cardboard. cardboard is easy to process. by using it instead of wood the company can cut production costs by 90%. using a special ultrastrong cardboard the company now makes a variety of products including rickshaws. the firm can now even create a room with beams, pillars, and floors all made from cardboard. >> translator: because ultrastrong cardboard is so durable, there are many different ways to use it. we hope to raise awareness of the material so its value can be better recognized. >> reporter: another company that has realized the business potential of paper is focusing on shredded paper. shredded paper used to be
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disposed of as refuse because the short fibers were too difficult to recycle. this company, though, developed a technology to recycle the shredded bits. they turn shredded paper into a powder and mix it with a synthetic resin for adhesion. using this technology, the company makes products such as plates, cups, and chopsticks. another advantage is that these items can be shredded and once again recycled into paper. this eliminates waste. >> translator: in march we became the first japanese company to win the environmental stewardship award from the society of plastics engineers. we've received promising offers from many different companies. we hope to work with overseas partners and create a new market for this product.
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>> reporter: because the material is inexpensive, durable, and easy to recycle, thinking outside the box or for that matter the paper will help businesses grow. next is a recap of the latest market figures. ♪ ♪ >> and that's all for now in biz
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news. next is the weather forecast with saki ochi. hello again and welcome back to your world weather update. now, east asia of course has been dealing with a lot of showers and stormy conditions due to all the the tropical storm systems. that is going to continue. but it's also going to intensify for some of these areas like southeastern china as well as across the korean peninsula, northern areas especially can expect to see some very heavy rainfall amounts to start falling later on today. so do stay on the watch for that. it really ups the risk of flooding as well as landslides. across japan dry and settled yet again. it is going to be turning quite hot. tokyo expecting a high of 35 degrees. another hot day despite the fact that we are now in september. meanwhile, 29 degrees for seoul. 30 degrees in shanghai. and 30 degrees also for taipei. now, over toward the americas.
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we've been keeping a close eye on the atlantic as well. here we have the clouds from hurricane earl. you can see a well-organized large storm system. it remains quite strong. a category 4 major hurricane. it's now starting to move past the turks and caicos islands heading toward the bahamas. it will likely miss the bahamas and just veer to the east of that before aiming for possibly the east coast of the united states. it could get very close to the coastline. so already we're looking at watches and warnings in effect. of course, there is also the rain to worry about. the really heavy stuff remains offshore, but definitely showers will be impacting these islands here, and of course there will be the higher surf as well as tidal surges to worry about as well. now, following behind earl is tropical storm fiona. it's going to take a slightly more northerly path but definitely getting close to the northern leeward islands within another day or so. of course islands here already saw some pretty stormy
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conditions from earl. do brace yourselves for another round of some pretty stormy conditions to come. now, across north america to the east remaining quite settled here, high pressure in place, well-developed system over toward central canada. will produce some showers for you. also could turn a little bit stormy here along the central plains. out west fairly dry. a couple showers will push through the pacific northwest and british columbia as well. but should start looking a little dryer on wednesday. highs today still very hot toward the northeast. 36 in new york, 34 for d.c., and 32 in toronto. all right. so that is a look at your weather for now. and here is your three-day outlook. ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪
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all eyes are on the ruling democratic party of japan as it has announced the start of official campaigning for its presidential election on september 14th. the former secretary-general, ichiro ozawa, and prime minister naoto kan, the current dpj president, are running as candidates. nhk world reporter minako misawa is standing by at the party's headquarters. minako? >> reporter: yes, catherine. deputies filed candidacy applications for ozawa and kan on wednesday morning. each candidate had endorsements from more than 20 fellow lawmakers. ozawa and kan will hold a joint news conference later in the day. the democratic party's victory last year ended more than 50 years of virtually unbroken rule by the liberal democratic party. but the dpj suffered a major
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setback in the upper house elections in july. the coming leadership vote will be the first poll since that election. both candidates are party leaders who have long worked to put the dpj into power. in this presidential election votes will be counted according to a points system. each party lawmaker has two points for a total of 824 points. rank-and-file members and ordinary voters who have registered beforehand as party supporters account for 300 points. 100 points are allocated to local assembly members. all combined, this puts 1,224 points into play.
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the candidates have two weeks to campaign. during this period they'll hold party meetings in tokyo, osaka, and sapporo to explain their policy priorities.j
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